Mental Block, need help - MensTennisForums.com
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-06-2010, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Mental Block, need help

Hi everyone,

I've got a peculiar mental block in my game. I do not swing on my forehand. As the ball approaches and I go to swing, I tense up immediately, lock my arm in close to my body, and then seem to contort my wrist.

I've played tennis for about 10 years. I started playing a lot in 6th grade of school, and was on my school's tennis team through my senior year. I steadily improved my game, and pretty much peaked in my Junior year. I am by no means a great player or anything, but I was competetive in the area that I played in. The junior year, I was hitting with pace and decent consistency, just working on more pace and placement.

I don't know what triggered the change. I probably didn't play too much in the off-season, and when I got back I just couldn't hit correctly. I know what to do, I know the mechanics, I just tense up. I basically refuse to extend my arm to hit the ball, too. Sometimes I can force myself to hit a few solid shots, and it feels great, but then I'll muff one and *snap* the block is back again. It's extremely frustrating to go from solid play to trying to relearn a stroke with a mental block.

Does anyone have any ideas of things that I can try to get past this? I've tried taking my mind off of it. I've tried focusing hard on mechanics. My old tennis coach tried a few things that never held. I need help, guys!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-06-2010, 11:50 PM
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Re: Mental Block, need help

All you can really do is just try to play out of it. It happens to all of us, even professionals. Some people deal with the mental pressure differently than others. Some bash the ball as hard as they can, and others, will tense up and not swing through and freely.

If I ever felt like that on a particular shot, my private coach would make me just hit the ball as hard as I can for about an hour or so. Naturally, you starts to gain the confidence to hit it that way. Other than that, you just have to grind out a couple wins here and there, and slowly you'll get your confidence to hit your shots.

It is a slump, and we all have it. The best players are the ones that can play through it. I mean look at Nadal. He couldn't do much right at all after the French Open last year, losing to like 10+ top 10 players in a row or whatever and now look what he has accomplished.

Federer / Haas / Safin / Gaudio / Kuerten / Youzhny / Nadal / Gonzalez / Ljubicic / Hewitt / Soderling / Wawrinka / Coria / Nalbandian / Kohlschreiber
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-07-2010, 02:19 AM
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Re: Mental Block, need help

Quote:
Originally Posted by H_Farris View Post
Hi everyone,

I've got a peculiar mental block in my game. I do not swing on my forehand. As the ball approaches and I go to swing, I tense up immediately, lock my arm in close to my body, and then seem to contort my wrist.

I've played tennis for about 10 years. I started playing a lot in 6th grade of school, and was on my school's tennis team through my senior year. I steadily improved my game, and pretty much peaked in my Junior year. I am by no means a great player or anything, but I was competetive in the area that I played in. The junior year, I was hitting with pace and decent consistency, just working on more pace and placement.

I don't know what triggered the change. I probably didn't play too much in the off-season, and when I got back I just couldn't hit correctly. I know what to do, I know the mechanics, I just tense up. I basically refuse to extend my arm to hit the ball, too. Sometimes I can force myself to hit a few solid shots, and it feels great, but then I'll muff one and *snap* the block is back again. It's extremely frustrating to go from solid play to trying to relearn a stroke with a mental block.

Does anyone have any ideas of things that I can try to get past this? I've tried taking my mind off of it. I've tried focusing hard on mechanics. My old tennis coach tried a few things that never held. I need help, guys!
Occasionally I get tentative on my forehands before I match, what I do is rip a forehand. I don't mean I hit as hard as I can and still get it in the court. I let it rip and just crank it so had that usually it hits the back fence. After that I start to losten up and the Fearhand starts going in. It's a tactic that me and my doubles partner use when we are warming up against another school before a match.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-07-2010, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Mental Block, need help

I think that my fear is that I'm going to just hit it over the fence or something. Its completely irrational based on my past play. I mean, I've mis-hit some balls over the fence before, but those are bad accidental shots.

That does sound like a good idea, though. I know that when I finally do rip a solid shot then it feels good, even if it doesnt go in, and I do end up loosening up for a minute. I'll give that a try next time I play! Thank you, and if that fixes things for me then you are amazing!

Any and all suggestions are welcome! The more ideas I have, the better a chance of finding the cure
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